What to Do When Your Homeschool Child Feels Overwhelmed

My son is officially a seventh grader this year, and that means his schoolwork requires a lot more effort on his part. than in previous year. He's also doing a lot more of his work independently, so he's having to be much more self-motivated and self-disciplined.

Since we've switched to our new almost-year-round-calendar for this school year, I made out assignment sheets for our entire first term of 5 1/2 weeks. So when we started school mid-August, I gave Jaden his list of assignment for the whole term. It was a pretty full schedule, included about 45+ pages of reading each day, but it wasn't overly full. It should have taken Jaden a good 4-5 hours of work each day.

The first couple days of school went well, but then Jaden had a meltdown. He had forgotten to do a couple assignments the day before, so he was faced with completing those things he missed as well as that day's work, and he became completely overwhelmed. Of course, when a child is in that frame of mind, it's self-defeating. He's overwhelmed about how much work he has to get done, and yet he's so anxious about it, he can't get any of it done.

I felt so sorry for him. He really didn't want to feel the way he did, but he just couldn't help it. So I had to think of something to help him through it.

The answer was Perspective and Prioritization.

To offer him a little bit of perspective, I had him make a list of each assignment he had left for the day. Then next to each assignment, he wrote down approximately how long it should take him to complete it. After doing that, we totaled up the time and figured out when he should be able to be done with his work that day.

Second, I had him put his assignments in the order he wanted to complete them. I offered my own suggestions, recommending he put some of the more challenging assignments toward the top of the list.

Then he got to work. As he completed each assignment, he crossed it off the list. Since he'd put the harder assignments first, he felt a huge sense of accomplishment as even the first item was completed.

Perspective and Prioritization worked wonders, and Jaden finished all his work that day without further anxiety. And even the next day, he made up another list of his work, prioritizing them and assigning a time for completion to each one. He didn't continue to make lists after a couple more days, but I think he got the point. Thankfully he's not had any more days of feeling overwhelmed with his schoolwork. And at least now he knows what to do if he does start to feel that way again.

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  1. Pollann says

    I desperately needed to see that an overwhelmed child can learn to cope. I like the idea of perspective and prioritazation. Thank you very much.


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